William Patrick Patterson
Present at the Creation
Why do I wish to remember myself? Isn't the deep reason to be present at the creation? Yes, Being in the Becoming. The Becoming of Creation is ceaseless, it never stops. At every moment, with every breath, I am re-created. But when I am not present at the creation, I'm where? Seesawing between past and future, denying creation, and so I am automatically being re-created.
Presence & Choice
When we are remembered as "I am" or "I Am," creation still happens, but my relationship to it has changed. "I" have stopped creating the dream state, the waking state. In that denial there is the affirmation of being in the Being of Becoming. "No" is said to the ongoing hypnotic momentum, and "yes" to self-remembering. I can still create, I can still build something, think something, feel something, take something apart, but being present at the creation I can elect to go deeper and deeper into the world of Being. Instead of going automatically forward in time, the movement is backward, outward, upward.
In All and Everything Mr. Gurdjieff speaks about this. He affirms there is only one energy. This is the energy that flows out and the energy that flows back, just like our breath. Habituated by society and the impulsions of our own lower natureman is a two-natured beingwe go forward into time, constantly creating. Every creation is in itself 1-2-3. Involution. No manifestation can be higher, encompass totally, the original idea from which it sprang. But what happens when I am present to the doing? Aren't there two creations simultaneously, the one higher, the other lower?
What Is It that Changes?
When we have time on our hands, what do we do? Don't we either get bored, irritated, fall asleep, do something, anything to fill the time. To just "be," to do nothing, is very difficult in the midst of a constant creation ceaselessly going on not only outside me but inside me. If physiological creation wasn't going on inside me on all the various levelsmolecular, chemical, and so forthI wouldn't be here. So though I can affirm my being in Being, live more deeply, I must realize that the impetus, the momentum, is always to go forward. By the act of self-remembering that is denied. Time changes, space changes, awareness of the body changes, awareness of the environment changes. Does it change, really? Isn't it that I change? Isn't it that I've stepped up to a higher vibration, a higher relationship? It's not the world of name and place and form and history. It's an Immediacy, a simultaneity, a nonlinear experiencing of a scale beyond the Kantian categories of mind (words, being symbols, can only reflect, can never be what they reflect). The chatter stops. Yes, errant thoughts or feelings may arise, but they are given no attention, are immediately assimilated. We don't say "I" to them, we "eat" them. They are food. If we don't, they eat us, and we are taken down into the person again; we slip back into the static world of history, heroes and villains. That world is constantly being created by people who, without choice, have taken a position in that world, the world of the diplomat, general, politician, criminal, businessman, citizen. The position is unconscious; that is, unconscious of being in Being. Not that such people are unintelligent, lack talent or characterthough, of course, they maybut they live in the domain of the automatic unconscious. Not affirming being in Being, they must constantly affirm their becoming and fight to maintain it. Intellectually, they may admit it is transitory and can only end in disintegration, but were they to act with this knowledge they chance losing the one thing they strive to keep: their power.
The idea, let alone the experience, of both not acting and acting simultaneously is completely foreign. They are all action when they act, all thinking when they think. To be and to not be simultaneously is beyond their comprehension. For them, one either is or is not. The idea that one can be and not be at the same time is simply mumbo jumbo, sophistry. And so they remain pawns of power and glory. When reaching the last rank on the world's chessboard they become queens or rooks, knights or bishops, whatever the historical moment calls for.
A Higher Creation
To be present at the creation, we must deny the becomingness of creation for the higher creation, the 'creation' of consciousness. We are speaking of this from the standpoint of the person, because in reality there is no creation. Being is always, I am and I am not. I am no-thingness and I am nothingness. I Am.
Gurdjieff speaks of our Common Uni-Being-Endlessness, the primordial, that which is and is not, beyond description, metaphor. The ancient Egyptians speak of a primordial darkness, mystery, water, out of which emerges an island, the "homeland of the primeval ones." It is the urge for creation of the Creator God that creates all the other gods and all that exists in the descent of this primordial octave that manifests this God's Ray of Creation. And with time, Heropass, that island must eventually slip back into the primordial sea. The Hindus speak of Brahma creating on the out breath, Vishnu maintaining the out breath, then Shiva appearing, the dissolution of the in breath, a whole world like a bubble popping and on the next breath, a new world coming to creation. Is that the same Brahma? Is Brahma #1 the same as Brahma #2? In Absolute essence, of course, it would have to be, but could there possibly be different aspects that are highlighted with the emergence of every new Creator God? Could it be that there isn't one God but a number of gods? That the god of the ancient Egyptians is not the Yahweh of the Jews, the Father of Christianity or the Allah of Islam? And yet it is. And it is not. Is this difference in Creator Gods at the core of the conflict we see between people of different religions? Could it be that the Creator Gods of the different religions are really different, and yet one and the same? Is it for us to expand our being to the point where we can simultaneously understand these supposedly irreconcilable points of view?
The End of Religion?
People say that God has spoken to them. Gurdjieff says that God doesn't speak, the angels speak. There must be a telepathy between the Creator God, gods and angels. And so when we are spoken to, we are spoken to by angels. Martin Heidegger, the great philosopher of ontology, says the only thing that could save us now is the speaking of a new god. His essay, "The Question of Technology," cuts to the rootunless man awakens and consciously guides and controls technology, it will enframe him in the automatic. Joseph Campbell says we live in "a terminal moraine of myth." There is no more myth, no more central belief. Others say God has left us, is dead. Perhaps it is we who have left. By being present at the creation, by denying automatic creation, we make a call not only on ourselves but to That which is higher.
The great religions appear to have come to their final manifestation. Fundamentalist extremism is carrying the day. That can only portend a new step. As many historians have pointed out, modernity is always presaged by a return to fundamentalism. At an accelerated time when we are flung into the future, we look back. As Marshal McLuhan put it, "We're driving into the future, looking into the rear view mirror." Why? Because we are not in the car, we're not driving it, we're not present at the creation.
In the midst of the Russian Revolution, Gurdjieff guided his people between two opposing armies and over the bandit-infested Caucasus. Before setting out he told them that "Conscience must guide us, that conscience is innate. We only have to awaken it." We awaken it by being present at the creation.
This talk is printed in The Gurdjieff Journal Issue #29